anyone wonder how much of a threat this is? thabigp and i were talking about it and i'm just curious as to other thoughts on our return to the stone age. http://www.milnet.com/e-bomb.htm MILNET Brief: E-Bomb - Electro Magnetic Pulse Weapon Weapons for the 25th Century In the mid seventies and throughout the eighties, U.S. and other nuclear weapons developers began to explore concepts learned from above ground and underground nuclear tests. Analysis of the effects of high yield weapons disclosed the fact that the moment of detonation created a huge Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) that was highly dangerous to electronic equipment Electromagnetic Weapons One of the other more important discoveries about the effects of a nuclear blast has become more important as we have moved fully into the "information age." A nuclear blast creates an electromagnetic effect called EMP -- Electro-Magnetic Pulse. Also, the pulse is followed by an ionization effect which limits radio signals in the area for up to 72 hours. The major electronic effect, the pulse, has so much energy that it is highly dangerous to sensitive electronic equipment. Effected the most are semiconductor based devices - computer chips. While certain physical and electrical designs mitigate dramatically the effects of an EMP pulse, protecting against it is quite expensive for each chip. As a result, few electronic devices in commercial use would survive a large EMP. The effects to electronic devices vary from reduced power in radio transmitters or low sensitivity in receivers, to total catastrophic failure of electronic devices such as vehicle ignition systems, computer controls, or communications equipment. Computer Data Center facilities would also be risk, an EMP attack within a target radius possibility taking out all computers in that area permanently. The original theory for a non-nuclear EMP producing device, thought up in 1927 by Dr. Arthur Compton to study atomic particles, makes use of injection of plasma into low electron count elements. By the mid 1980s, scientists had found ways to build a high energy device that, without resorting to a nuclear blast, could emit a huge EMP. Test drops of devices using B-52s and Cruise Missile airframes demonstrated the feasibility of the technology. A one time explosive device provides kinetic energy required to rapidly build an electromagnetic field through electromagnetic induction rather than through the nuclear chemistry found in a nuclear explosion. A second, low cost technology uses a moving short in a tube fed by a charging system. This technology, known as FCG - Flux Compression Generator, turns out to require far less cash to develop and manufacture. The mechanical construction of the FCG is actually quite simple -- an effective design of such a device can be accomplished by a college graduate in electronics or physics. Because of this fact we will not discuss the details for security reasons. Suffice to say that the non-nuclear EMP device can be manufactured anywhere a machine shop and electronic supplies are available. The electronics and explosives, while not available at your local Radio shack or hardware store, are, never-the-less much easier to procure by terrorists than any type of nuclear materials. Build the device's structure, add the electronics and explosives, and all you need is a timer to set off the explosion. Today, universities are already building prototype devices for further exploration of EMP weapons designs as well as non-lethal devices for use by police to disable vehicles. Countries such as India and several other asian nations are working on both devices and countermeasures. Detonating the EMP device in the air or near the top floors of a skyscraper maximizes the effects. Defenses include Faraday cages (similar to screening in that which is to be protected), however other effects, including one called "late time effect" may be able to get pass the Faraday cage protection. The EMP bomb is only effective in a finite area about the device. The larger the armature of the device, the larger the electromagnetic field produced. Thus a device could be one foot across and take out very localized equipment, say a control facility or communications system. A device four or five feet across could be used to take out all communications at an airport or from a skyscraper take out the semiconductor devices for several miles in a swath extending out in all unshielded directions. The EMP device's somewhat sophisticated mix of mechanical and electronics make it harder to design and thus given the same starting date for the program as an RDW, the EMP device would take longer. Estimates are from 6 months to two years. Cost is estimated to around $1000 for a small prototype to up to $10,000 for a large production line device effective over several miles. However, several sources indicate that a FCG might only cost $400 per device in a production environment. Availability Today EMP devices are technologically feasible weapons to manufacture. Except for the difficulty for the average person to obtain the actual design specifications, the weapons can be constructed with materials available to governments and individuals alike. Through low level black market contacts this type of weapon could already be available to terrorists -- for instance the same dealers who sell terrorists their guns probably would be able to find someone to sell them the explosives and electronic components for the manufacture of an EMP weapon. And of course in some cases explosives are already in the arsenals of most terrorist groups. With nations like Iraq, Iran and possibly Libya, Syria, Lebanon, and North Korea who have terrorist connections, the opportunity for both explosive and electronic compoent sales to terrorists is at an all time high. Full up, ready to deploy weapons may find their way to the clandestine weapons market at any time. U.S. Director of Central Intelligence Tenet reported to Congress after 9/11 that while there is no conclusive proof any nation or terrorist group has created an EMP weapon, however there is also an alarming absence of proof that the devices have not been in production.. Reports out of Asia indicate that at least one country, India, has been building such a weapon, "for peaceful purposes" in order to study its effects and perhaps to build safeguards against it. Since it is expected that at least one nation has begun work on an EMP devices several years ago, it is quite possible the design is available to terrorists today. Statements from public and protected sources lead MILNET to believe that EMP devices will be used by terrorists in the short term. We evaluate the risk as being high and our confidence in our sources is also high. Recent efforts by the intelligence community to find manufacturing facilities for such devices indicate that MILNET is not alone in its analysis of the risk level.